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They’ve been called the post-modern Marx Brothers, but a more apt comparison would be the post-modern Three Stooges. Stella, the comedy group of State alumni Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black and David Wain, is billed as “Dumb comedy dressed up in a suit” by Comedy Central and that bears remembering.

As loose versions of themselves, Stella spend their first episode careening through life as clueless noisy apartment dwellers who get themselves evicted as a result, then have no idea what it means to apply for a $3 million co-op, going before the board for an interview when they don’t even have the money.

The Marx Brothers, at least Groucho anyway, were smarter than everyone else in the room in the anarchy they brought to scenes and stories. The Stooges, obviously, were the idiot bulls in the china shops. Stella, although more verbal and articulate, are the idiots in the china shop -- who think they will save their landlord from a heart attack with crude clueless surgery.

The twist of course, ends up being a piece of dark comedy from nearly out of nowhere, when Stella are rewarded for botching the surgery because their patient was Nazi Joseph Mengele in hiding, pleasing a Jewish group that had been trying to find him. “Kind of ironic that it was your botched surgery that killed him,” they’re told.

It remains to be seen how this fusion of idiocy with a smart black humor underneath can work. 



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